Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Hats - Cupcake

It's Sunday and you know what that means.  We're talking hat patterns.

Check out this adorable cupcake hat.

crocheted cupcake hat pattern, free pattern on Ravelry
Cupcake Hat by Jenni Designs

Is that not the cutest thing?

Okay, okay, so it's crochet, not knit, but still.  Look at it.  It's adorable!  And it's a free pattern from Jenni Designs.  You can find the pattern on Ravelry here.

And now I'm craving cupcakes.  I'm off to beg & plead with my daughter to bake a batch while I try to remember how to crochet.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

On the knitting needles

A brief update on what's on, and off, the knitting needles these days.

wool slouchy hat, wool slouchy beanie, dreadlocks, available at
Striped Slouchy Hat
I finished the striped slouchy hat knit with Paton's Kroy Sock and #2 & 3 needles.
And immediately started another.  This hat is being knit with Paton's Kroy Socks FX and #2 & 3 US needles.  As far as I can tell, the only difference between 'Socks' and 'Socks FX' is the striping.  Socks creates much more defined stripes while Socks FX creates much wider multicolored stripes that blend into each other.  Although the yarn label indicates no difference, FX feels slightly thinner in my hands.

I also bought a multi-pack of food coloring so I can play around with dying more yarn.  I wonder what color I'll turn my hands next.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Fiber - Hawthorne

Today's Friday Fiber post is all about Knit Pick's Hawthorne.  A few months ago, on a whim, I ordered the boxed set in the Jewel color-way.  My intention was to knit lacy scarves or shawls with each color but when I received the boxed set, I knew that wasn't going to happen.  The colors were just so perfect all mixed together.  At first I thought it would be fun to knit a pi-shawl with stripes, or rounds, of color.  But who am I kidding?  I still have quite a ways to go on my simple Pi Day pi shawl.  There is absolutely no need to start another one of those monsters before the first is complete.  Then I thought about knitting a mitered square blanket using all the colors.  I thought, and still think, that would be stunning.  But again, who am I kidding?  As much as I love the color combinations of Hawthorne, I'd get bored and quit long before I ever put a dent in that much yarn.  After all, the boxed set contains 3,213 yards of yarn.  3,213 yards of yarn would knit into a LOT of mitered squares.

I've been thinking about knitting another Eclipse scarf/shawlette.  I really, really like the first one I knit.  But then I saw Artesian on Knitting Sarah's blog.  I love the openness of Artesian but wanted the shape of Eclipse.  So I decided to combine the two and create my own pattern.

I'm using the Hawthorne Rose City,

fingering weight wool,
Hawthorne Rose City
and Hawthorne Goose Hollow.

fingering weight yarn
Hawthorne Goose Hollow
And it's turning out to look like this:

yarn review
Okay, it doesn't look like much yet.  But you can see how well the colors work together.  And I guess you can see how one end of the scarf will be much wider than the other end.

The pattern is simple short rows of yarnovers & knit two togethers.

fingering weight, open, lacy scarf, available at
So far, I'm loving it.

And I'm loving the yarn.  Hawthorne is a fingering weight Superwash Fine Highland Wool with just a bit of Polyamide mixed in to give it stretch & help it retain it's shape.  In other words, it's perfect for sock knitting, although I'd never be able to actually knit socks with it simply because I knit too loosely.  But I'm loving the way this scarf is knitting up.  The yarn is not splitty (splity??  it doesn't split) at all which means I can easily knit while reading Outlander.  And the color combination!  I am over the top in love with the color combination.  I'm so in love with the fluctuations in color that I think perhaps I could have knit another Pi shawl or a mitered square blanket big enough to fit a king sized bed without ever getting bored.  At least I wouldn't have gotten bored with the color.  Maybe the project, but not the color.  And since it's a Superwash wool.... I could toss the finished blanket into the washing machine.  Hmmm.... I just may have to order more and knit that mitered square blanket.

Anyway.... if you haven't tried Hawthorne yet, do!  And I highly suggest purchasing the boxed set.  It's a fantastic deal.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

TBT - Prom

It's TBT and I'm remembering Prom.

Mike and Greg in their 1983 prom fashion tux & tails.
Mike & Greg, 1983
Mike and his brother, showing off their 1983 prom fashion.  Gotta love white tails!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Thank a Lineman

So, did you hear about all the storms that ripped across the east coast Monday?  Thankfully, they skipped over us.  We were under a tornado watch most of the day and night and at one point, the sky turned an ugly purple then cleared & went back to sunny and blue 30 minutes later.  Just before midnight, we got a little bit of rain & it was breezy.  But it was just breezy and the rain was regular rain, nothing like that monsoon from the previous day.

So, late Monday night or this early Tuesday morning, depending on what you want to call 12:45 a.m., I was sitting at my desk watching Netflix on the computer and knitting the first few rows of a new lacy project.

lacy fishnet scarf or shawl by
All of a sudden, I was in total darkness.  Total, unprepared-for darkness.  And let me tell you, you don't know what dark is until you've experienced an unexpected powerless, rainy night in the boondocks.

Sadly, my laptop has no battery.  It's a long story.  But, when the power goes out, or the dogs get so tangled in the cord that they pull it out of the computer, the laptop shuts down.  Instantly.  So there I was, in sudden total darkness.  And I mean TOTAL darkness.  I screeched a little as I attempted to set the knitting down without pulling the needles out of the stitches.  And I instantly started worrying about spiders being in the room with me.  I began the awkward fumble as I looked for my phone, my tablet or a book of matches, all the while screeching just a little each time I bumped into anything soft & furry (yarn, hats, mittens, shawls, the dogs....) as I felt my way around.  (I just knew that visiting spider from the other day had relatives.  Big relatives.  Maybe even big enough to cut the power so they could attack me in the dark.)

Anyway.... My phone was there on the desk just to the right of me but then, so was about a thousand other items.  A thousand soft, fuzzy, spiderish feeling items.  Remember the disaster zone that is my desk??  I finally felt my tablet but struggled to find the On button.  Eventually I was able to begin the long & arduous task of getting it turned on and lit up.  That's a long story too.  While the tablet was taking it's sweet time coming to life, I searched my desk drawer for matches.  I finally found them.  The box contained one match.  One match that broke in half when I tried to light it.

One broken match.  Story of my freaking life.

About the time my tablet finally came to life, the girl child stumbled in complaining that the lightbulb in her room had blown.  No, sweetie.... the power's out.

With the combination of light from my tablet & Sarah's cell phone, I was able to find my own phone in the mess on my desk.  I called the power company to report the outage. (I take pride in always calling within seconds of the power going out.  No way I'm going to depend on the neighbors to make the call.)  The power company's outage reporting recording thing acted a little strangely and I said a few choice words & hung up.  Meanwhile, Sarah had gone in search of more matches.

We lit tons of candles and got the place fairly well lit.  Then I got the bright idea of reporting the power outage online.  What I discovered on Rappahannock Electric Co-op's website was amazing.  I typed in my phone number and the website responded with my address, the fact that there was in fact an outage in my area and the fact that there were 19 houses without power.  In all of Virginia, there were only 19 houses in the dark.  The website further stated that the power would be back on by 3:18 a.m. but I highly doubted that.  Would they really send out a repair crew at 1:00 a.m. for just 19 houses?

As it turns out, yes, they would!  Our power came back on at 2:48.  A whole 30 minutes earlier than they said it would be.  Thank you REC for being the best power company!  I shouldn't have ever doubted them.  REC has always been fantastic about getting our power restored quickly no matter what the weather conditions are or the time of night.  Thankfully it's been many years since I've had to deal with the big power company (i.e. uncaring mega corporation) that services Richmond, but I'd bet my life savings Richmond's power company would have left us in the dark until the regular daytime crew came to work.  I may not always sound it, specially when the bill comes, but I am truly thankful to receive our power from such a caring company as REC.  And since it's #ThankALineman month, I'm shouting out a big Thank You! to REC and their linemen.  Specially the linemen willing to work in the rain at night.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A weekend in review

I learned something about myself over the weekend.  Apparently, I thrive on drama.  Let's review.

Moments before leaving the house to go to work on Saturday, I received a Facebook notice that a favorited band that used to play at most of my high school dances was having a reunion next month at a local bar & grille.  The notice had just been posted but already several friends had replied that they intended to go.  Now, understand that my high school was tiny.  Teeny tiny.  Actually, eentsie, weentsie tiny.  Tiny as in, there were 13 people in my graduating class.  So, getting four or five of us together at one time counts as a high school reunion.  I was psyched.  A high school reunion, a high school reunion that does not include a rubber chicken entree but does include a live band that will bring back so many fun memories.  Like I said, I was psyched.  And I went in to work all smiles & giggles & "Hey, how ya doing?" to everyone I passed.

I walked into work & discovered that all Hell was breaking loose.  Actually, that's probably a slightly exaggerated description but things were going wrong and some manual adjustments were being made that would cause some slight confusion and a bit more effort.  While the panic set in, I continued to tell myself that it would be fine.  We'd deal with it.  And we did.  But as days like that go, things continued to tank.  It was one of those Murphy's Law days that would leave even Murphy quaking in fear & confusion.  Everything that could possibly go wrong did.  And then things that couldn't possibly go wrong went wrong.  The theme park's slogan is about the customers having their 'best day ever' and occasionally when an employee is having a bad day, you'll hear them joking about it being their 'best day ever.'  Well, Saturday was so bad that almost every employee I encountered either asked me if I was having my best day ever or informed me that they were having their best day ever in that weird, giggly, a nervous breakdown is about to occur voice.  It was just one of those days.

And then I came home to one dog growling at the dining room door and the other dog doing her 'there's something wrong' bark rather than her 'Oh, goodie!  You're home!' bark.   My first thought was that a opossum or raccoon had gotten in through the dog door.  But no.  No such luck.

big ass spider, wolf spider
Big spider
After the day I'd had, I really should not have expected anything less.  It was a spider.  A spider so big, the dog was growling at it.  Normally, I kill bugs with Windex but this guy looked like he probably drank Windex for breakfast.  My solution was to put that 2-cup coffee cup over it (while the dog distracted it) and leave it for my dear sweet husband to deal with.  And if you're wondering, that's his sized 12 shoe.  Look how freaking big that spider is!  Holy Moly!

Somehow, I managed to get a little bit of sleep between dreams of monster spiders.  Sunday, I got up & did it all over again.  Things were still going wrong at work but I did at least have a working computer so it wasn't quite as dramatic as the previous day.  The biggest problem was the rain.

It didn't just rain.  It monsooned!  Actually, that's not correct either.  It rained so hard it made a monsoon look like a light mist.  And of course, my rain coat was a mile away in the car.  By the time I got to the car, even my underwear were wet.  And then I had to stop for gas and got even wetter if that's possible.  I was so wet the gas station gave me a free slice of pizza when I went in to pay.  Because of course their pay-at-the-pump thing was broken.

After a few scary hydroplaning episodes, I finally surfed my car home, stripped my soaking wet clothes off, put on some dry ones & fell into bed with soaking wet hair.  I woke up this morning looking like

Only curlier.

But the point of all that is.... all that drama was kind of fun.  Well, maybe not 'fun' but it was certainly exciting and made the work hours pass by quickly.  I never got any knitting done at work though.

But, I did finish a few WIP's (works in progress) in the mornings before work.  I already showed you these, but here are the Outlander fingerless gloves on a hand model and a hat I finished.

hand knit Outlander gloves and hat for sale at
Faux cabled hat & Outlander fingerless gloves
I really like that cable pattern.  "That" being both the faux cable on the hat and the cable on the fingerless gloves.  The gloves look much more complicated than they are, as long as you don't forget how to count to three.  It's surprising how many times I failed to correctly count to three.  I'm blaming it on the spider.

hand knit, available for sale at
blue faux cabled hat
I finished a blue faux cabled hat as well.

hand dyed, fingerless gloves,
hand dyed fingerless gloves
And I dyed these fingerless gloves.  Actually, I dyed them late Friday night.  And that was a whole other bit of drama.  It was late, late Friday night when I was dying them and I'm blaming it on the hour.... but I stupidly stuck my hands into the dye bath without putting on gloves.  My hands instantly turned a nice bright magenta color.  And then I proceeded to get the dye on one side of my face as well.  So when I bounced into work on Saturday, not only was I grinning & saying "Hey, how ya doing?" to strangers, I was also a lovely shade of red that made me look like I had extreme blood pressure issues.  Like I said, Saturday was definitely a 'best day ever' said in the most sarcastic voice possible kind of day.

Anyway...  I was excited about the dye job though.  And it could have been worse.  I was using black dye so I could have ended up with gray hands instead of bright pink ones.

Anyway....  I turned this

hand knit,
brown and white tweed
into this

knit fingerless gloves, hand dyed, one of a kind for sale at
hand dyed fingerless gloves
And yes, it's sort of a mahogany reddish brown, not black.  Black is really made up of a whole lot of blue plus a little bit of red.  I'd been warned that black dye would most likely separate and I wouldn't end up with black fingerless gloves.  And I was cool with that.  I didn't really want black gloves.  I also didn't want those brown & white tweed gloves.  As you can see, the black dye did separate.  I have no idea where all the blue went but I ended up with reddish gloves and magenta hands.  I'm happy with the way the gloves turned out though and with all the drama & nervous sweating that went on on Saturday, by Sunday, my hands & face were back to their normal color.

And last but not least, I managed to knit a few more rounds on this slouchy hat.

slouchy striped knit hat for dreadlocks to be for sale on
And yes.  As you can see in the backgrounds of these photos, my desk is still the disaster zone it was last Monday.  In fact, it's even worse.  I have the feeling it will be November before I can call it truly organized and clean again.  It's just another bit of drama we'll have to learn to deal with.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Hats - Women's Beehive Hat

Today's Sunday Hats post is featuring the Women's Beehive Hat pattern.

knitted hat pattern, women's beehive hat
Women's Beehive Hat by IKnit4aCure
The pattern comes from an Etsy shop, IKnit4aCure.  The hat pattern calls for worsted weight yarn and appears to be simple combination of stockinette and reverse stockinette stitching.  In other words, a cute, versatile, quick to knit hat pattern.  And for the super lazy knitters or non-knitters out there, I see that the pattern listing also mentions that you can buy an already knit hat.

Besides being a cute & versatile hat pattern and the fact that the shop donates a part of their proceeds to the American Cancer Society,  what really caught my eye with this pattern is the kilt pin in the picture.  What a cute way to embellish a hat!  Plus, it's a kilt pin.  A kilt pin!  Have I mentioned my recent obsession with Outlander?

My Outlander addiction should be a whole other blog post.  The show doesn't come on our TV, but I began reading the first book last week and have done nothing but read & watch Youtube clips ever since.  I'm totally addicted.  It's also made me realize why my family talks funny.  While my mom's family have been in America since just before the American Revolution, they originally haled from Scotland and counted themselves among theJohnstone clan.  And instead of saying, "the mouse ran out and about the house," we pronounce it "the 'mose' ran 'oat' and 'aboat' the 'hose'."  I've always wondered why and now I know.  Thank you, Jamie.